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Supporters of Alexei Navalny have said his life is “hanging by a thread”

Supporters of Alexei Navalny have said his life is “hanging by a thread”

Imprisoned Russian opposition leader in jail Alexei Navalny they have called on the Russians to protest the harsh treatment they received in prison, saying it could end in immediate death.

Leonid Volkov, who runs the Navalny Foundation in exile in Vilnius, Lithuania, said in a video message on Sunday that the life of the anti-corruption activist was “hanging by a thread” as he began a 19-day hunger strike in protest of his refusal to leave prison. see a selected doctor.

“However, we may not want to think about it, distance ourselves or change the subject – it doesn’t change the fact that Alexei Navalny is dying. In the most horrible way. In front of everyone,” Volkov said.

“And all the questions come to us, whether we like it or not: are we ready to do something for ourselves to save the life of a man who has risked his own for so many years?”

Cardiologist Yaroslav Ashikhmin published the results of the tests on Saturday, saying Navalny had increased levels of creatine that could cause kidney failure, as well as a potentially deadly level of potassium that could cause cardiac arrest “at any time”.

Navalny’s health deterioration is marked by the Kremlin’s most critical criticism of President Vladimir Putin’s decision to eliminate the threat.

The Russian prosecutor said on Friday that he would designate Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation and its network of regional offices as “extreme organizations,” an unprecedented step that would essentially shut down his operations while his group faces potential criminal trials.

Navalny’s supporters have described the Kremlin’s repression of his group and harsh treatment in prison as a “desperate attack” in the face of Putin’s low acceptance scores as a result of Putin’s economic downturn.

“If we don’t talk now, we have access to the darkest times of free people. Russia will fall into absolute hope. Peaceful political activity in Russia will be impossible, ”said Ivan Zhdanov, head of the Navalny Foundation.

Navalny’s group called for a protest – calling for a “final battle between good and neutrality” on Wednesday evening outside the Kremlin square. A few hours earlier, Putin will give an annual speech to the Russian elite at the national level.

The rally will be a major test in favor of Navalny – and the Kremlin’s willingness to confront him – after a strong police response forced him to stop protests in more than 100 cities in January.

Navalny, 44, was arrested at a Moscow airport in January and returned from Germany immediately after spending five months recovering from a poisoned nerve agent.

He was then ordered to spend two-and-a-half years in prison for missing parole meetings related to his 2014 probation – including being in a coma after poisoning.

On Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden said Navalny’s treatment was “completely unfair, completely inappropriate because he was poisoned and then went on a hunger strike. Wrong.”

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in Navalny’s poisoning, imprisonment and confinement conditions.

“He will not be allowed to die in prison, but I can say that Mr Navalny, acting like a hooligan, is completely,” Russian Ambassador Andrei Kelin said in an interview with the BBC on Sunday. “His goal in achieving all of this is to attract attention.”

Leonid Volkov, left, and Ivan Zhdanov at the press conference

Leonid Volkov, left, and Ivan Zhdanov call on Russians to protest Alexei Navalny’s harsh treatment in prison © John Thys / AFP / Getty Images

Last month, he was taken to a prison colony with a reputation for harsh treatment of detainees.

He continued on hunger strike in late March, he protested that he had been treated by a doctor chosen for the severe nerve pain in his two herniated discs in his back, and said the tactics for sleep loss were “torture”.

It is likely that Navalny’s team will have great difficulty organizing the protest, as prosecutors believe their organization is “extreme”.

This designation compares Navalny and his supporters to the neo-Nazis, Al-Qaeda, and the Japanese cult of Aum Shinrikyo. This means that the management of his foundation could be jailed for up to 10 years and given that his supporters could face up to eight years in prison, according to Pavel Chikov Agora, head of the legal aid foundation Agora.

Since Russia declared Jehovah’s Witnesses an “extreme organization” in 2017, 463 members of the Christian denomination have been subjected to criminal charges, and police have searched 1,416 homes of members of the group, Chikov said.

Several of Navalny’s main allies have been arrested at home on charges of violating public health regulations in a series of unprovoked protests in January.

Police have arrested Zhdanov’s elderly father, as well as several workers at Navalny’s regional headquarters in recent weeks.

On Friday, a court also sentenced the cameraman of the Pavel Zelensky Foundation to two years in prison for writing two tweets deemed “extreme”.

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